Refugee Resources

Queer Refugee Hearings Program Toolkit OCASI Webinar

Webinar presentation by Nicholas Hersh (he/him) an immigration and refugee lawyer at Community Legal Services of Ottawa and Capital Rainbow Refuge. He has extensive experience working with SOGIESC newcomers and has developed the Queer Refugee Hearings Program Toolkit. OCASI hosted the webinar to assist service providers to better help people claiming refugee protection based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and/or Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC).

You can download powerpoint slides  

Access the Queer Refugee Hearings Program Toolkit at The Capital Rainbow website.

For more information, please contact Nicholas at hersh@capitalrainbow.ca

Queer Refugee Hearings Program Toolkit

Created by Ottawa-based Capital Rainbow Refuge, this toolkit aims to assist individuals claiming refugee protection based on SOGIESC by: Learning about the refugee claim process in Canada based on SOGIESC; Writing a complete and correct narrative about their life experiences; Collecting evidence that may best support their claims; and Addressing common misunderstandings about SOGIESC refugee claims in Canada. The QRHP Toolkit is free and available in English, French, Spanish, and Arabic. You can download the complete Toolkit, or specific sections. There is also an interactive version available on a safe and secure online platform.

Refugee Claims Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity: an Annotated Bibliography

 

Mary Kapron 

University of Ottawa - Faculty of Law

Nicole LaViolette 

University of Ottawa - Faculty of Law

June 1, 2014

Abstract:      

This annotated bibliography gives an account of legal and social sciences research sources related to refugee claims based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The bibliography, which focuses primarily on English language publications, includes close to 200 items that fall into the following two categories of research sources: 

(1) scholarly publications on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) refugees and asylum-seekers and the refugee determination process; (2) reports from international, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations on the same topic. 

Research sources are first organized topically according to the definition of a Convention refugee under the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. As a second listing, a geographical classification is provided of the sources that focus on specific countries or regions. Finally, included is an alphabetical listing by author of all of the research sources we were able to locate for this project.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 194

Keywords: LGBTI refugees, refugee law, sexual orientation, gender identity, asylum

working papers series 

Download Paper from Source: Social Science Research Network

Refugee Hearing Preparation: A Guide for Refugee Claimants

A new resource for refugee claimants

Available for Metro Vancouver (4 languages) and the Greater Toronto Area (English only), the new RHP Guide helps you:

  • learn key refugee legal issues
  • track your refugee claim on the right timeline
  • learn strategies to help prepare for your refugee hearing
  • complete the hearing preparation checklist
  • get answers to frequently asked questions
  • find legal and community resources in Metro Vancouver and Greater Toronto Area

“This Guide not only helps refugee claimants prepare for their hearings, it reassures them of their rights.”

~ Furio De Angelis, UNHCR Representative in Canada

“The Guide is clear and straight-forward for refugee claimants and support workers.  It will also assist refugee lawyers to explain the inexplicable to their clients.”

~ Peter Showler, Director, The Refugee Forum, University of Ottawa; former Chairperson, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada

“I went through the Guide again and again before my refugee hearing.  The step-by-step instructions, timeline, and recommendations were so useful for me.  It’s friendly and relieved my stress.”

~ Ioann, Convention Refugee in Canada

Refugee Hearing Preparation Guide: An Overview 

View PDF Online

Source: Kinbrace Refugee Housing & Support

Speak Out! Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer Refugees in Canada: Exploring Intersections of Sexual, Gender and Cultural Diversity

Please see attached Final Report, Executive Summary, and Trans Refugee Fact Sheet. 

Speak Out!

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer Refugees in Canada

Exploring Intersections of Sexual, Gender and Cultural Diversity

Final Report

Shari Brotman and Edward Ou Jin Lee

McGill University

April 14, 2011

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Chapter I: Introduction and Literature Review 

1.1 Introduction.................................7

1.2 Language and labels..............................10

1.3 Queer migration scholarship........................12

1.4 Canadian empirical literature..........................18

1.4.1 Canadian refugee law and SOGI based claims....................20

1.4.2 Sexual minority refugee experience......................27

1.4.3 Gaps in theoretical and empirical literature in Canada..............29

Chapter II: Methodology

2.1 Introduction..................................31

2.2 Pre-study history and affiliation........................32

2.3 Advisory committee..............................34

2.4 Analysis process..............................41

2.5 Participant recruitment strategy and sampling considerations...........42

2.6 Interview procedures.............................43

2.7 Ethical considerations...............................47

2.8 Data analysis.................................49

2.9 Limitations.................................51

Chapter III: Findings

3.1 Demographics...............................53

3.2 Themes.................................54

3.3 Constructions of sexual and gender identity....................56

3.4 Migration path.................................59

 3.4.1 First interrogation.............................61

 3.4.2 First impressions..............................63

 3.4.3 Couples................................65

3.5 Housing..................................66 

 3.5.1 Detention................................675

 3.5.2 Shelter system...............................69

 3.5.3 Finding an apartment..........................72

3.6 Employment...............................74

 3.6.1 Waiting.................................74

 3.6.2 Finding a job...............................76

 3.6.3 Experiences of discrimination......................77

3.7 Refugee determination process.......................80

 3.7.1 Applying for refugee status......................80

 3.7.2 Finding a lawyer...........................82

 3.7.3 The hearing.............................83

 3.7.4 Trans specific barriers............................86

 3.7.5 Feeling invisible..............................87

 3.7.6 Being „grateful‟..............................88

3.8 Health care and social services.......................90

 3.8.1 Health care.................................90

 3.8.2 Social services...............................91

 3.8.3 Language.................................92

 3.8.4 Authority.................................93

 3.8.5 Opening the door................................94

 3.8.6 Service provider/community advocate social location..............95

 3.8.7 Taking responsibility..........................96

 3.8.8. Everyday rewards..............................97

3.9 Mental health................................98

3.10 Belonging to Communities.........................103

 3.10.1 LGBTQ communities.........................103

 3.10.2 Cis women................................105

 3.10.3 Trans...................................106

 3.10.4 Cis men...............................107

 3.10.5 Cultural communities...........................108

 3.10.6 LGBTQ refugee and cultural specific communities................110

3.11 Strength..................................1126

Chapter IV: Discussion and Conclusion

4.1 Introduction.................................113

4.2 Insight from findings............................115

 4.2.1 Constructions of sexual and gender identity.................115

 4.2.2 Migration path..............................118

 4.2.3 Housing and employment...........................120

 4.2.4 Health care and social services.......................122

 4.2.5 Refugee determination process......................125

 4.2.6 Heteronormative and cisnormative refugee regime...............128

 4.2.7 Particular countries of origin......................130

 4.2.8 Mental health and community wellbeing...................132

4.3 Queer asylum advocacy............. . . ..............133

4.4 Recommendations.............................137

4.5 Conclusions..............................139

References...................................142

List of Appendices

A. Annotated Bibliography Collection.....................151

B. OCAP Principles.............................163

C1-C2. Recruitment Flyers...........................164

D1-D3. Information Letters..........................166

E1-E3. Consent Forms............................172

F. Demographic Sheet.............................178

G1-G3. Interview Guides...........................181

H1-H2. Materials in Spanish.........................190

I. Ethics Certificate..............................195

Speak Out! Executive Summary

Shari Brotman and Edward Ou Jin Lee

McGill School of Social Work

2013

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Who we are and resources 2 - 3

What is Speak Out? 5

Key Definitions 6

Legal Context 7 - 8

Who did we speak to? 9

What did we find? Main Themes 10 - 20

Analysis 21 - 22

Implications 23 - 24

Recommendations 25 - 27

References 28

Brotman, S. & Lee, E.O. (2013). Speak Out! Executive Summary. McGill School of Social Work. Montréal, QC. 

Country of Origin Report: Sexual and Gender Minorities UGANDA

This tool was designed by ORAM - Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration to help adjudicators and protection experts better assess and adjudicate LGBTI asylum and refugee claims from Uganda.

http://www.oraminternational.org/images/stories/PDFs/Countryoforigin.report.pdf 

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN REPORT: SEXUAL AND GENDER MINORITIES - UGANDA

Table of Contents

Abbreviations ............................ 5

Terms Relating to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.... 7

I. General Information ............ 9

A. Uganda: An Overview ............... 9

1. Population...... 9

2. Languages .....10

3. Religions.......10

4. Ethnicities .....10

5. Governance....11

6. Major Conflicts 12

B. Neighboring Country Information ..............................13

1. Kenya ..........14

2. South Sudan ...15

3. Democratic Republic of Congo ..............16

4. Rwanda ........17

5. Tanzania .......18

C. Migration Flows.....................19

1. Emigration ....19

2. Forced Migration ............................20

II. Legal Environment for SGN Individuals ...................22

A. Criminalization of Same-Sex Acts 22

1. The Penal Code Act of 1950 .................22

2. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill and the Anti-Homosexuality Act..........25

B. Prohibition on Same-Sex Marriage .............................31

C. Exemption from Protection by the Equal Opportunities Commission ...................31

D. Identity-Specific Information.....32

1. Women ........32

2. Men ............33

3. Bisexuality.....34

4. Gender Nonconformity ......................34

5. Intersex ........35

III. Social Conditions for SGN Individuals .....................36

A. Societal Attitudes ...................36

B. Community Life .....................37Copyright © 2014 ORAM – Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration 4

C. Treatment by State Actors ........38

1. Public Condemnation by State Officials ....38

2. Police Discrimination and Lack of Protection ............................38

3. Freedom of Association and Expression ...39

D. Treatment by Non-State Actors...41

1. Media ..........41

2. Religion ........43

3. Medical Treatment...........................45

4. Schools.........47

5. Housing ........47

6. Employment...48

IV. SGN Ugandans’ Asylum Claims..............................50

A. United States ........................50

1. Cases Granting Relief ........................50

2. Cases Denying Relief.........................51

B. United Kingdom.....................54

1. Cases Granting Relief ........................54

2. Cases Denying Relief.........................55

C. Australia .............................58

1. Cases Granting Relief ........................59

D. Canada.61

1. Cases Granting Relief ........................61

2. Cases Denying Relief.........................63

E. European Union.....................65

1. Cases Granting Relief ........................65

F. France .66

1. Cases Granting Relief ........................66

Appendix: LGBTI and Human Rights Organizations in Uganda .............................67

No Place for Me: the Struggles of Sexual and Gender Minority Refugees by ORAM International

In "No Place for Me: the Struggles of Sexual and Gender Minority Refugees", lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) urban refugees in Mexico, Uganda and South Africa tell their stories in their own powerful voices. By ORAM (Organization for Refuge, Asylum, & Migration) International. 

www.oraminternational.org/en/videos/276-theres-no-place-for-me-10min-preview

yagg.com/2013/12/10/les-refugies-lgbt-meritent-notre-protection-une-campagne-de-loram-pour-le-10-decembre/

Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and the Refugee Determination Process in Canada by Nicole LaViolette

Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and the Refugee Determination Process in Canada

By Nicole LaViolette 

Paper prepared for the Refugee Protection Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada as part of a professional development session on sexual orientation, gender identity and the refugee determination process. This paper reviews developments and issues specific to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and intersex refugees and the Canadian inland refugee determination process. 

Immigration and Refugee Board
Refugee Protection Divsion
Toronto May 2013
Vancouver June 2013 

'Losing Your Right to Remain in Canada: Cessation' by Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR)

Losing Your Right to Remain in Canada: Cessation 

Information for persons with refugee status (even those who are also Permanent Residents)

By Canadian Council for Refugees

 

Challenges to Assessing Same-Sex Relationships Under Refugee Law in Canada by Nicholas Hersh

Challenges to Assessing Same-Sex Relationships Under Refugee Law in Canada
By Nicholas Hersh
McGill Law Journal, Volume 60:3
2015 

https://www.erudit.org/en/journals/mlj/2015-v60-n3-mlj02036/1032678ar/

This article suggests that there are reasons to be concerned about the way relationship history impacts credibility assessments for refugee claims based on sexual orientation. Decision makers’ written assessments often reveal insufficient consideration of the psychosocial barriers that may impinge on sexual minority refugees’ ability to testify on their relationships. The multinational and multicultural setting of refugee-status proceedings poses unique challenges for sexual minority refugee claimants in having their membership in a particular social group established. Understanding and expressing sexual identity spans cultural divides, and therefore, a claimant’s expressed identity may not match the decision maker’s expectations. Notions of love and intimacy may also be culturally construed, and therefore expectations of how these notions manifest in long-term relationships may be inappropriate in the context of refugee status determination.

This article emphasizes that implausibility findings concerning claimants’ relationships should be made cautiously. Decision makers should not assume that sexual minorities in countries in which homosexuality is stigmatized or criminalized are devoid of the volition to have same-sex partners. Nor should they assume that sexual minority refugees are necessarily willing to embrace same-sex relationships soon after arriving in Canada. Evaluating same-sex relationships according to the Cass Staged-Identity model can lead to persistent doubts about claimants’ credibility.

In sum, this article attempts to canvass the potential pitfalls of Canadian adjudication methods in cases of sexual minority refugee claimants, and to propose recommendations for evaluating testimony and evidence of these relationships.